Beccles woman used fake name to claim £162,000 in benefits
- Credit: PA
A 71-year-old dishonestly claimed £162,000 in benefits in the name of a fictitious woman during a decade-long fraud.
Moira Smith carried out the deception after obtaining a false national insurance number in the name of the woman.
Officials started an investigation in May 2015 after noticing that concurrent claims were being made for disability living allowance and pension credit payments at the same address.
When investigators went to Smith's house in Beccles she claimed the other woman only stayed there occasionally, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Kevin Dent, prosecuting, said inquiries revealed that Smith's mother's maiden name was the same as the woman's and analysis of handwriting and voice recordings showed that Smith was making claims in both identities.
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He said that although there was no evidence of Smith having a lavish lifestyle as a result of the fraud, there was evidence of her having a 'comfortable' lifestyle.
Smith, of Maple Way, Beccles, admitted three offences of cheating the public purse and was jailed for two years and four months.
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Sentencing her, Judge Rupert Overbury said: 'This was a thoroughly dishonest way of living that you conducted over a lengthy period of time by telling numerous lies and producing numerous false documents, including somehow a false national insurance number, for a completely false identity to obtain £162,000, all of which you spent on yourself.'
Steven Dyble, for Smith, said his client was in poor health and was assessed by the probation service as being a low risk of reoffending.
A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place later in the year.